Common $ense (10) By Daun Martin, Cooperative Extension Educator University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service Credit Report Repair This week’s column was to address retirement, but having just received a copy of my credit report that was full of inaccuracies, I decided to discuss how to repair your credit report. You can order your credit report once a year at no charge. Your report contains five types of information: • Personal information • Accounts reported monthly (e.g. store charge) • Accounts reported when they are in default (e.g. car loan) • Public records (e.g. lawsuits, court judgments and liens arrests, bankruptcy) • Inquiries (e.g. from potential creditors or employers) Check all information carefully. Under personal information my birth date, spelling of my name, employer, and address were incorrect! In the monthly accounts section, some that had been closed for 15 years were reported as active. Finally, inquiries from companies unknown to me were reported as having been made. It reflects badly on your credit report if there are numerous credit worthiness inquiries in a short period of time. If you are shopping for a car or house loan start several months in advance and bring a corrected copy of your report. If shopping for a vehicle—shop around for the best deal before asking anyone to run a credit report. If you go to five dealers and they each run your information, you might get turned down just for “an excessive number of inquiries in a short period of time! The three big Credit Bureaus are: Experian 888-397-3742 Trans Union 800-916-8800 Equifax 800-685-1111 Each has a web address that I recommend using. You can dispute and correct on-line or use a form that they will send to you. On-line is faster and if you are looking at securing a home or auto loan or just cleaning up your report, you will want to correct inaccuracies ASAP. Finally, you are allowed a 100-word statement. I used mine to record completion of Credit When Credit is Due and to note a significant period of unemployment and under employment. It is a sort of “guilty with explanation” and “I’m working to improve my credit” statement. The University of Wyoming and the United States Department of Agriculture cooperate. The University of Wyoming is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institute. Wyoming Extension 2 Things will improve when you pay attention to your report by: 1. Correcting incorrect information 2. Disputing erroneous items 3. Paying your bills on time or ahead of time 4. Annually revising your 100 word statement Order and correct your report now! I am confident that you will find more than one inaccuracy. Inattention could cause you to be turned down for credit you deserve.